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The Pakistan Army on Thursday said it is close to a decision on the mercy petition of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav who has been sentenced to death by a military court on charges of spying. Jadhav, a 46-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was in April sentenced to death by Pakistan's Field General Court Martial on charges of his alleged "involvement in espionage and sabotage activities" against Pakistan. "Kulbhushan Jadhav's mercy petition has come to the army chief.
There is a process, everything goes through a process but I can assure that it is near finalisation and we will give you news about this very soon," Major General Asif Ghafoor, the Army spokesman told a news briefing.Jadhav in June had sought clemency from the Pakistan Army chief over the death sentence after his plea to an appellate court was rejected. Under the law, he is eligible to appeal for clemency to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and if rejected, subsequently to the Pakistan President. Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from its restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that he was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy. India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by repeatedly denying consular access to Jadhav. In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench of the ICJ restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav. Pakistan has said that the Indian national would not be executed until he has exhausted his mercy appeals.
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